Can you help kit out local kids?

Can you help kit out local kids?

As the school holidays get underway and thoughts turn to family vacations and a summer of fun, we are asking our big-hearted guests to help make a difference to children across our West Lothian communities.

For the first time we are teaming up with local charity The School Bank to launch a back-to-school uniform drive aimed at kitting out kids in need for going back to school in August.

The charity, which was established in 2016, works tirelessly to support children and families in Livingston and beyond and is a vital service that helps children attend school with the correct uniform. They are a volunteer-led group aiming to improve the lives of children in families in West Lothian experiencing financial hardship by providing them with a brand-new school uniform and other clothing and equipment required for the school day.

Commenting on the initiative, Karen Stewart, Outlet Manager from Livingston Designer Outlet said:

“We are always looking for new ways to support our local community and following the massive success over the last three years of our Giving Tree Christmas gift appeal, we felt developing a similar partnership for back to school would be equally as beneficial.

With the cost-of-living crisis continuing and so much financial pressure on families, the cost of back-to-school essentials and uniform can be extremely unmanageable. We are really impressed with the work conducted by the charity who aim to alleviate this pressure and by launching this appeal we are confident we can help many more families in need.”

Here’s how you can help

Guests, colleagues, and brand partners can donate vital back to school essentials (new and good quality second hand items) at our drop off point at Guest Services on the ground floor of the mall from now until the end of August.

There is a preferred donation list at the end of this news post.

Collette Moran, project manager at The School Bank added:

“Most children start the new school year with brand new uniform, PE kit, jacket, and footwear but sadly this is not the case for all children.

Last year we provided over seven hundred packs for children going to school in August and they anticipate the demand for this year to be far greater.

“With each school pack that is provided, one family can worry less about coping with the ever-increasing cost of the school day, and one child can worry less about how they look compared to their classmates.

“Referral feedback consistently highlights the positive impact our service brings to young people and their families, including the alleviation of financial stress, anxiety and poor mental health among both children and their parents, young people being valued the same as their peers and engaging positively in education, a reduction in bullying and an increase in school attendance.

“School uniform is so much more than a new uniform or a pair of shiny shoes, it is the feeling of belonging to your school community and being like your classmates. The transformative power of these feelings cannot be underestimated.

“By helping The School Bank West Lothian, you are helping ensure that every child, within the local community, feels like they belong at school. This is our main fundraiser of the year, and we rely heavily on your support to help us cope with the demand for our service. Every donation is greatly appreciated.”

What items are needed by the school bank

New or excellent quality second hand
School uniforms such as trousers, skirts, pinafores, polo shirts, shirts, jumpers, cardigans.
Items embroidered with school logos should be recycled back to the school.
Gym kit such as shorts, t-shirt and joggers/leggings as well as hoodies/zippers
School bags and PE bags

Good quality second hand
Football boots
Blazers (logo blazers should be recycled back to the school)

New only
Socks and tights
Footwear (including shoes and plimsolls)
Toiletries (including deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, toothbrushes, toothpaste, sanitary towels and hair products etc)
Hair bobbles and clasps
Insulated lunch bags and lunch boxes
Water bottles
Stationery (binders, note pads, pencil cases, highlighters)

The school bank would appreciate a wide range of ages from P1 right up to S6 (4 years up to adult sized clothing).

When donating second hand items please empty pockets and wash, as this minimises the work for the volunteers.